Tell U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman: Stop promoting tar sands!
President Obama has committed to taking real action on climate change, and to give a fair evaluation of the climate impacts of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
So it was shocking when news broke this week that Michael Froman, the President's top trade official, is lobbying Europe to weaken its environmental protections when it comes to accepting tar sands exports.1
This is clearly not in the interest of the United States -- but it is of direct interest to foreign oil companies like TransCanada. Disturbingly, Froman is lobbying to open up a market for a product that depends on U.S. approval of the Keystone XL pipeline!
Tell U.S Trade Representative Michael Froman: Stop promoting tar sands. Sign the petition now.
As part of trade negotiations with Europe, Froman is siding with Big Oil and foreign-owned refineries on the Gulf Coast, pressuring the European Union to weaken climate laws which would reduce the amount of carbon-intensive tar sands oil imported and burned by Europe.
President Obama is having enough trouble taking action against climate change in this country. So the last thing we need is a high ranking administration official standing in the way of other nations' urgently needed action. Especially when it presumes approval of the Keystone XL pipeline that would lead to "essentially game over for the climate."
As part of the European Union's effort to reduce carbon emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, the EU has implemented a Fuel Quality Directive that would rightly consider the up to 40 percent higher carbon footprint of tar sands oil, significantly reducing European demand for refined tar sands crude (the vast majority of which would be shipped from Gulf Coast refineries, by way of pipelines from the Canadian tar sands, like Keystone XL.)
But in written testimony to Congress, Froman said he is supporting the objections of oil industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute and the Chamber of Commerce, who are threatening to try to push the U.S. into trade action against the EU if the climate rules are adopted.
The fact that the oil industry is concerned with Europe's thirst for tar sands crude blows the lid straight off TransCanada's longstanding claims that Keystone XL is anything other than an export pipeline. But that doesn't make Froman's efforts any less damaging for our climate.
He has only been serving as U.S. Trade Representative since June, and likely wasn't counting on public scrutiny for his pro tar-sands lobbying. So our pressure could help push him to withdraw his anti-climate efforts.
Sign the petition urging Michael Froman to stop his tar sands lobbying.
1. "Michael Froman, Top U.S. Trade Official, Lobbies For Tar Sands Oil In EU Negotiations," Kate Sheppard, Huffington Post, 9/24/13
photo: World Economic Forum